Next to a couch and a TV, something to set your drinks, magazine, phone, or whatever else you use while relaxing is perhaps the most important piece of living room furniture. It's also the easiest to build, especially with a versatile construction system like MakerPipe. With just a few steps you can have a well finished and rugged coffee table like this that is truly your own!
Step 1: Get Supplies
For this project, you'll need just under 8' of 3/4" EMT conduit (they come in 10' sections), 8 MakerPipe connector sets, 7/8" diameter rubber anti-skid leg tips, wood glue, stain, and urethane. You'll also need two pieces of plywood 2' x 3'. You can normally have the hardware store cut this for you; ideally the grain will go in the longer (3') direction. These dimensions can change depending on your table needs.
For tools, you'll need a drill with a 1" paddle bit or Forstner bit, an orbital sander, and a tape measure. Optionally, a combination square and wood router will be helpful. You'll also need a 3/16" Allen Key to assemble the MakerPipe connectors.
Step 2: Mark and Drill 1" Holes
In order to keep the table from sliding off of your MakerPipe frame, mark one piece of plywood 3" from each edge, then drill a hole through with your 1" paddle bit.
Step 3: Glue Plywood
Liberally apply wood glue to one of the 2x3 pieces of plywood then attach together and clamp and/or apply weight. Let the assembly dry for the glue's required bonding time.
Step 4: Match and Sand the Wood
Once the pieces are bonded together, you may find that there are sections that overlap slightly. If this is the case, use a router with a flush trim bit or other tools at your disposal to knock off any offending pieces, then sand the surfaces with fairly rough grit paper to smooth things out (60 grit paper on an orbital sander was used here). Sand the top and bottom surfaces as well, working to a finer grit of these and the sides surfaces if desired.
Additionally, as shown in the last photo, if you can round plywood using a roundover bit on your router, this can make things look nicely finished.
Step 5: Stain and Urethane
Wipe of any excess dust from sanding then apply stain to your table. Apply one or more coats of urethane as desired, sanding between coats if needed. Although it can be frustrating to wait for surface treatments to dry, this will greatly enhance the look of your table.
Optionally, you can use a stain/urethane mixture, which will save you a step.
Step 6: Cut Conduit to Size
Your conduit should be cut 3" shorter than the center of the holes that the vertical supports will fit into. If everything was cut and drilled correctly, this will mean lengths of 18" and 27", but it is best to measure the center distance, then subtract 3" to account for any imprecision.
Using a conduit cutter, cut 2 long and 2 short horizontal supports, then cut 4 vertical supports. As seen in the first three photos, if using this method, simply attach the cutter, tighten and rotate several times–a vise is helpful but not absolutely necessary. You can also use a hacksaw or other cutting method if you prefer.
The length of the vertical supports can vary depending on how high you'd like your table, but 1' is a good place to start and was used in this example. Roughly arrange the pipe and connectors to see how they will fit later.
Step 7: Basic MakerPipe Attachment Method
Use the procedure in the pictures here to attach the EMT together using MakerPipe. Simply hook the sides of the connector together, then insert the pieces of pipe you'd like to attach at 90 degrees. Tighten with your 3/16" Allen Key.
Step 8: Assemble Frame With MakerPipe Connnectors
Once you have done these preliminary steps, assembling the supporting frame will be fairly easy. Turn the table over with the holes facing up so they can be used as a template.
Attach the longer horizontal support at a distance of 5 inches (or whatever distance you decide on) from one side. Pay attention to whether the socket or nut side is facing out if you would like that to be consistent. Attach the other side at the same distance to another vertical support in the same manner. Repeat the process for the two other legs.
Place the two sets of legs inside the drilled holes, then attach the shorter horizontal legs in the same manner on top of the longer leg's connectors. After tightening, attach 7/8 inch rubber legs tips as desired to keep from scratching your floor.
You now have a sturdy coffee table to use for years to come. If you get tired of it, given MakerPipe's modular nature, you can always disassemble it and reuse the parts for another project, perhaps another piece of furniture!
Step 9: Enjoy!
Enjoy your new coffee table in the living room or wherever you need to hold drinks, magazines, tools, or other accessories!
By Jeremy S. Cook